Dec 21 2020

A community update regarding COVID-19 vaccinations

Dear White Horse Village Community,

White Horse Village continues to monitor the latest COVID-19 updates from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, CMS, and the World Health Organization. We continue to monitor the latest developments surrounding preventative measures, recommended symptom management, and the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

News of the vaccine(s) has generated many questions. We encourage all of our residents and team members to receive the vaccine to protect not only themselves but their families. Vaccinating oneself is one step towards eradicating this virus.

This update will provide some answers to frequently asked questions and share information about the consent process.

What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
A EUA is based on the need to use a vaccine quickly during an urgent health crisis or pandemic. While the process for approval is shorter, no steps are skipped in the safety evaluation process. Vaccines approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have undergone the same level of rigorous testing for safety and efficacy as other vaccines and have been tested in tens of thousands of people, including older adults. Two independent advisory committees of experts from academic institutions also monitor vaccines to ensure their safety.

Who is making recommendations and determinations on the priority for COVID19 vaccinations?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has made recommendations regarding those who should receive priority for the vaccines. Based on these recommendations, many states, including Pennsylvania, prioritize long-term care residents and healthcare workers. They are included in the priority level group “1a” which is the first group to be eligible to receive the vaccine.

What is the Pharmacy Partnership Plan for Long-Term Care Program?
Several months ago, White Horse Village enrolled in this plan. At that time, the intent was for long-term care facilities and healthcare workers to be vaccinated through a government-contracted pharmacy to provide on-site vaccines/clinics. Over the past week, White Horse Village has received confirmation from both Walgreens and CVS that at least one of the two pharmacies would be providing our vaccine clinics. At this time, we have not received tentative dates for the clinics but will apprise residents, families, and team members once the clinics are scheduled.

Who is eligible to receive the vaccine through the Pharmacy Partnership Program?
Long-term care facilities are eligible for participation—this includes nursing homes, assisted living, and personal care homes. Therefore, all residents in Canterbury Skilled Nursing, Bridlewood Personal Care, and Four Seasons Memory Support will be eligible.
Just this week, however, Pennsylvania decided that only residents in skilled nursing facilities will be in the “1a” priority group due to not having enough vaccine doses for all residents living in long-term care facilities. Therefore, our residents living in Bridlewood and Four Seasons will be in group “1b”, the second-highest priority group. Team members in the healthcare center are also included as a priority group to receive the vaccine in the Pharmacy Partnership Plan.  

Is everyone who lives on a Continuing Care Retirement Community campus, including those living in Residential, eligible for the Pharmacy Partnership Program?
Residential living residents are not included in the “1a” priority group. We are waiting on information to confirm that Residential residents will be in group the “1b” priority group.

How will the vaccine be billed?
The pharmacy partner will obtain insurance information from each resident and team member, if applicable.
However, if a resident or team member’s insurance does not cover the vaccine’s full cost, the pharmacy will NOT bill any individuals. Those receiving the vaccine through the Pharmacy Partnership Program cannot be billed directly.

Which vaccine is going to be distributed to organizations under the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program?
Each state will determine which vaccine or vaccines are allocated to the Pharmacy Partnership Program in their respective state.

What literature will be available regarding the vaccines?

For each vaccine approved, the CDC will develop an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) informational sheet. The sheet will be provided to each person who is vaccinated.  

Do team members and long-term care residents need to continue to be tested for COVID-19, even after receiving the vaccine?

At this time, team members and residents will continue to be tested, as testing requirements have not changed. 

How can someone provide proof that he/she has been vaccinated? 

Each vaccine comes with a card, which must be provided to the person vaccinated or their proxy. 

Are long-term care residents required to get the vaccine?
No, under and EUA, the federal government cannot mandate that individuals get the vaccine. Residents or their representatives have a right to refuse the vaccine.

If a person already had COVID-19, should they get the vaccine?

Yes. The vaccine will be offered regardless of prior history of having symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19.   

What are some of the side effects of the vaccine?
Signs and symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, and arthralgia, can typically occur following COVID-19 vaccination, usually within the first three days of vaccination.
The presence of signs and symptoms consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection is not typical for post-vaccination signs and symptoms, i.e., cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, should not be attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who will not be able to get the vaccine on the day of the clinics?
Anyone feeling sick has a fever or is exhibiting any respiratory symptoms, and any person diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last two weeks.

What do we know about how the Pharmacy Partnership clinics?
The pharmacy(s) will work closely with the healthcare leadership team to organize the clinics. There will be three clinics scheduled, approximately 21 to 28 days apart, as most of the vaccines require two doses with at least 21 to 28 days in between.

How are consents obtained?
A vaccine administration record (VAR) will need to be completed for all residents and team members who intend to receive the vaccine. This form includes a consent section that will need to be completed to administer the vaccine. The VAR must be completed each time the vaccine is administered, so two VARs will be needed to receive both injections.

We encourage residents to contact the Outpatient Department if there are any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, its possible side effects, and what to expect after receiving it.

As the situation is quickly evolving, this may change again. White Horse Village is monitoring these changes closely and will provide updates as information becomes available.

With warm regards,

Len Weiser, President & CEO